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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Waste Isolation Pilot Plant contains volatile materials – “potential bombs”

exclamation-Flag-USA“Patented explosives” reported inside plutonium waste drums at US nuclear facility — TV: So volatile, experts comparing it to ‘bomb’ — Official: I’m appalled we weren’t told about real and present danger — Over 5,000 drums a threat — Invisible reactions may have already occurred (VIDEO) http://enenews.com/investigation-patented-explosives-drums-plutonium-waste-nuclear-facility-tv-volatile-experts-calling-potential-bomb-5000-drums-threat-invisible-reactions-occurred-other-containters-video?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29

Sante Fe New Mexican, Nov. 15, 2014 (emphasis added): The combination [of neutralizer and wheat-based organic litter] turned the waste into a potential bomb that one lab chemist later characterized as akin to plastic explosives, according to a six-month investigation by The New Mexican. [Los Alamos National Lab] then shipped [the waste] to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant… Feb. 14… the drum’s lid cracked open… Temperatures in the underground chamber soared to 1,600 degrees, threatening dozens of nearby drums… Documents and internal emails show… officials downplayed the dangers… and withheld critical information.

Patented Explosives

  • LANL chemist Steve Clemmons [found] the drum’s contents match the makeup of patented plastic, water-gel and slurry explosives… “All of the required components included in the patent claims would be present,” Clemmons wrote… “I am appalled that LANL didn’t provide us this information!” [wrote DOE official Dana Bryson]… On May 27, when they learned of the memo about patented explosives… WIPP abandoned plans for the next day to sample the area where the breach occurred, fearing it was too dangerous. “In a phone call withLANL, they indicated that there is a possibility that any sampling of the kitty litter/drum contents could cause another event,” [wrote] David Freeman, Nuclear Waste Partnership’s chief nuclear engineer… “We have a formal letter on LANL letterhead implying there is a real and present danger in the WIPP underground,” Bryson wrote.

Up to 55 more drums of waste ‘destabilized ‘

  • The intense underground flare may have destabilized up to 55 more drums of waste [near the one that ruptured], calling into question whether they, too, had become poised to burst. “[The high heat event] may have dried out some of the unreacted oxidizer-organic mixtures increasing their potential for spontaneous reaction,” the report said. “The dehydration of the fuel-oxidizer mixtures… is recognized as a condition known to increase the potential for reaction.”

Over 5,000 more waste drums a threat

  • LANL began treating waste with assorted varieties of organic kitty litter as early as Sept. 2012spawning thousands of drums of waste that hold the same organic threat… [It] may have been mixed in up to 5,565 containers of waste at LANL.

LANL (pg. 21 of pdf): [The team] evaluated the effect of a heat generating event on the adjacent waste containers [that] could have chemically or physically changed the waste and introduced a reaction hazard. Unreacted drums of nitrate salt waste stream… continue to pose a potential reaction hazard… Reactions may have occurred within some of these drums at levels insufficient to lead to detectable visible evidence.

KOB, Nov. 16, 2014: Nuclear waste so volatile, it’s been called a potential bomb by experts… Greg Mello, former nuclear waste inspector for LANL: “The drum in question was basically kind of a time bomb.”… [A WIPP] assessment… estimates over 5,000 drums of waste may contain the volatile organic kitty litter that caused the one drum to split open.

Watch the broadcast here

November 19, 2014 Posted by | safety, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

US troops for combat, in the event of ISIS getting nuclear weapons

Obama ‘Would Order’ US Troops Into Combat If ISIS Got Nuclear Weapon, abc news, Nov 17, 2014, By   President Obama has been unwavering and definitive in declaring he will not deploy U.S. ground troops into combat to fight ISIS militants. Period.

But for the first time since the start of then anti-ISIS offensive dubbed Operation Inherent Resolve, the president volunteered a scenario which he said would change his mind.

“If we discovered that [ISIS] had gotten possession of a nuclear weapon, and we had to run an operation to get it out of their hands, then, yes,” the president told reporters at a news conference in Brisbane, Australia, on Sunday. “I would order it.”

There is no indication that ISIS currently possesses or could easily obtain a nuclear weapon, officials say.

Still, Obama’s declaration of a nuclear weapon in the hands of ISIS is a noteworthy new “red line” – and a very high bar for a U.S. offensive role on the ground……..http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/obama-order-us-troops-combat-isis-nuclear-weapon/story?id=26976710

November 19, 2014 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s chief warns that Commission is not geared for needs of decommissioning

Macfarlane, AllisonNuclear Agency Rules Are Ill-Suited for Plant Decommissioning, Leader Says NYT By NOV. 17, 2014 WASHINGTON — The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s rules are not geared for supervising the decommissioning of nuclear reactors, the task that will occupy much of its time in the coming years, the head of the agency, Allison M. Macfarlane, said Monday.

Speaking at the National Press Club in a wide-ranging look at her agency and the industry before she leaves the job at the end of the year, Dr. Macfarlane said the industry had instead set itself up about 15 years ago to oversee more reactor construction, a revival that did not occur. “The industry was really expecting to expand,” she said. “The agency’s not facing the future that five years ago people envisioned.”

Instead, a plunging price of natural gas and slack demand for electricity have made some existing plants uncompetitive, and the pace of retirements has been high. But the commission’s rules on areas like security and emergency planning are geared to operating plants, she said. So shut-down plants are applying for exemptions to the rules that no longer seem to fit the risk that the reactors pose when decommissioned.

As with nuclear waste, the commission’s rules on reactors seem more focused on construction and operation than on the “back end,” said Dr. Macfarlane, a geologist who is returning to academia.

Decommissioning

In her comments, Dr. Macfarlane said that the future of a proposed nuclear waste repository near Las Vegas, blocked for years by Senator Harry Reid of Nevada as majority leader, was still far from assured, despite the coming change of party control in the Senate. The commission’s job would be to rule on whether the repository should be licensed, but it could never approve a license without “a willing applicant,” she said.

That applicant would be the Department of Energy, which dropped work on the project after a campaign promise by Barack Obama when he ran for president the first time.

To resume work on the proposed repository, at Yucca Mountain, the Energy Department and the commission would need a new appropriation, she said. And at the time work was stopped, in 2010, “there were more than 300 contentions challenging the application,” she said. Each must be argued before a panel of administrative law judges.

And even then, she noted, Yucca Mountain would not be big enough for all the waste.

In light of the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in March 2011 in Japan, Dr. Macfarlane said that the commission should consider new rules on some reactors whose design does not resemble the ones that melted down in Japan. The commission has required older plants of the General Electric design to improve their systems for venting gases in an emergency, but perhaps other models should have to do the same, she said……..http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/18/us/nuclear-agency-rules-are-ill-suited-for-plant-decommissioning-leader-says.html?_r=0

November 19, 2014 Posted by | decommission reactor, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear power promoter DOE to run research into health effects of radiation

Dracula-DOE House passes bill to study low-dose radiation http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/house/224411-house-passes-bill-to-study-low-dose-radiation
By Cristina Marcos November 17, 2014,
The House on Monday passed legislation by voice vote to authorize Department of Energy research on the risks of low-dose ionizing radiation.

Under the measure, H.R. 5544, the Department of Energy’s Office of Science would conduct research on low-dose radiation. Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.), the bill’s sponsor, said there isn’t enough scientific data regarding exposure to low levels of radiation.

 “Sufficient data is not available for experts to definitely conclude whether there are risks from this low dose radiation,” Broun said. “As a medical doctor, and a true fiscal conservative, I recognize that this major gap in understanding is detrimental to the health of Americans and will contribute to the unnecessary economic burdens if we do not deal with it immediately.”

The director of the Energy Department’s Office of Science would be required establish an agreement with the National Academies on a long-term strategy for low-dose radiation research within 60 day’s of the bill’s enactment. Such a study would have to be completed within 18 months.

The measure encountered no opposition during House floor debate.

 

November 19, 2014 Posted by | politics, radiation, USA | Leave a comment

USA’s Government Accountability Office wants public input into decisions on nuclear waste


text-wise-owl

wastes-1Flag-USAGAO: Nuclear Waste Issue Requires Public Buy-in http://blogs.rollcall.com/energy-xtra/gao-nuclear-waste-issue-requires-public-buy-in/?dcz= By Randy Leonard Nov. 13, 2014 In response to a request from House Republicans, the Government Accountability Office looked into the challenges of the Energy Department’s handling of spent nuclear fuel – which without a central or interim waste storage facilities has been piling up at reactors in 33 states. The office concluded that no matter which path the administration and Congress take, the department needed to conduct a public outreach program.

“Without a better understanding of spent nuclear fuel management issues, the public may be unlikely to support any policy decisions about managing spent nuclear fuel,” the GAO wrote.

The administration in 2010 stalled plans for a geologic repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada, though a court order last year and Republican control of the Senate will likely meansome further action toward developing the site.

But even proponents of Yucca like Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., say that an alternative strategy and facility are needed to process all the waste being generated. He has signed on to a bill that would set up a new administration for handling nuclear waste.

“Officials noted that the department’s strategy cannot be fully implemented until Congress provides direction on a new path forward,” GAO wrote. “However, experts and stakeholders believe that one key challenge – building and sustaining public acceptance of how to manage spent nuclear fuel – will need to be addressed irrespective of which path Congress agrees to take. In this context, they suggested the need for a coordinated public outreach strategy regarding spent nuclear fuel management issues, including perceived risks and benefits, which would be consistent with the administration’s directive to be more transparent and collaborative.”

November 17, 2014 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

USA nuclear weapons system – unaffordable, and in decay

Foundation of US nuclear system showing cracks By ROBERT BURNS, AP National Security Writer Wane.com  November 8, 2014, WASHINGTON (AP) — The foundation of America’s nuclear arsenal is fractured, and the government has no clear plan to repair it.

The cracks appear not just in the military forces equipped with nuclear weapons but also in the civilian bureaucracy that controls them, justifies their cost, plans their future and is responsible for explaining a defense policy that says nuclear weapons are at once essential and excessive.

It’s not clear that the government recognizes the full scope of the problem, which has wormed its way to the core of the nuclear weapons business without disturbing bureaucracies fixated on defending their own turf. Nor has it aroused the public, which may think nuclear weapons are relics of the past, if it thinks about them at all.

This is not mainly about the safety of today’s weapons, although the Air Force’s nuclear missile corps has suffered failures in discipline, training, morale and leadership over the past two years. Just last week the Air Force fired nuclear commanders at two of its three missile bases for misconduct and disciplined a third commander.

Rather, this is about a broader problem: The erosion of the government’s ability to manage and sustain its nuclear “enterprise,” the intricate network of machines, brains and organizations that enables America to call itself a nuclear superpower.

What have been slipping are certain key building blocks — technical expertise, modern facilities and executive oversight on the civilian side, and discipline, morale and accountability on the military side.

The shortfalls are compounded by tight budgets and what experts call a decline in political support for the nuclear system. In the absence of a headline-grabbing nuclear accident in recent decades and receding fears of nuclear war, these problems generally are paid little heed.

The scientific and military capability is arguably the best in the world, but its underpinnings have weakened gradually.

The White House and Congress have paid little attention, allowing the responsible government agencies to “muddle through,” according to a congressional advisory panel. This is the case despite the fact that the U.S. still has thousands of nuclear weapons — more than it says it needs — and is approaching decision points on investing enormous sums to keep the arsenal viable for future generations………

“Unaffordable,” is the blunt conclusion by a panel of defense experts who reviewed the Pentagon latest defense plan…….http://wane.com/2014/11/08/foundation-of-us-nuclear-system-showing-cracks/

November 12, 2014 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Luxury underground apartments on sale to prepare for nuclear apocalypse

Paranoid US millionaires can buy Survival Condos to survive nuclear war in style, Telegraph UK,  By , New York 11 Nov 2014 Former weapons silo in Kansas converted into luxury underground apartments complete with pool, bar, dog park and cinema Paranoid millionaires in the United States are being offered the opportunity to buy a flat in a luxury underground apartment building in which to see out a nuclear apocalypse in style.

apocalypse

Called “Survival Condos,” the apartments in a former weapons silo at a secret location near Concordia in rural Kansas are on the market for between $1.5 million (£950,000) and $4.5 million (£2.8 million), and come complete with access to a swimming pool, bar, movie theatre and “hydroponic” vegetable garden.

Dog lovers have a place to walk their pets, while a “holding cell” can be used as a prison to house any residents who turn unruly during the long days and nights underground. There is a shooting range and rock climbing wall.

In the event of nuclear war or other disaster, the complex is designed to keep up to 70 people alive for five years, providing food, water and even entertainment.

The complex’s online marketing brochure describes itself as “Survival Bunker Security / Full Luxury Resort Living.”……..http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/11223714/Paranoid-US-millionaires-can-buy-Survival-Condos-to-survive-nuclear-war-in-style.html

November 12, 2014 Posted by | spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment

Wyoming in-situ uranium mining company fined for 2 radioactive spills

$5,000 fine for uranium spills at new Wyoming mine http://www.kulr8.com/story/27356303/5000-fine-for-uranium-spills-at-new-wyoming-mine Nov 11, 2014 By MEAD GRUVERAssociated Press CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) – A company has agreed to pay a $5,000 state penalty for spilling uranium solution at a newly opened uranium mine in Wyoming.

Two spills occurred at the Nichols Ranch in-situ mine between Casper and Gillette last summer. Casper-based Uranerz Energy Corporation started production at the mine in April and announced its first shipment of yellowcake uranium in September.

In-situ mining involves pumping chemicals underground to release uranium into a solution that is pumped to the surface.

Department of Environmental Quality officials say over 20,000 gallons of uranium-bearing liquid spilled from a pipeline July 17. A second pipeline spill of 12,000 gallons occurred Sept. 8.

Department Director Todd Parfitt and Uranerz Vice President Michael Thomas signed the penalty agreement Nov. 3. Thomas didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

November 12, 2014 Posted by | incidents, USA | Leave a comment

Fukushima Radioactivity Detected Off West Coast

cesium in california 10 nov 2014

November 10, 2014

Monitoring efforts along the Pacific Coast of the U.S. and Canada have detected the presence of small amounts of radioactivity from the 2011 Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant accident 100 miles (150 km) due west of Eureka, California. Scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) found the trace amounts of telltale radioactive compounds as part of their ongoing monitoring of natural and human sources of radioactivity in the ocean.

In the aftermath of the 2011 tsunami off Japan, the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant released cesium-134 and other radioactive elements into the ocean at unprecedented levels. Since then, the radioactive plume has traveled west across the Pacific, propelled largely by ocean currents and being diluted along the way. At their highest near the damaged nuclear power plant in 2011, radioactivity levels peaked at more than 10 million times the levels recently detected near North America.

“We detected cesium-134, a contaminant from Fukushima, off the northern California coast.  The levels are only detectable by sophisticated equipment able to discern minute quantities of radioactivity,” said Ken Buesseler, a WHOI marine chemist, who is leading the monitoring effort. “Most people don’t realize that there was already cesium in Pacific waters prior to Fukushima, but only the cesium-137 isotope.  Cesium-137 undergoes radioactive decay with a 30-year half-life and was introduced to the environment during atmospheric weapons testing in the 1950s and ’60s.  Along with cesium-137, we detected cesium-134 – which also does not occur naturally in the environment and has a half-life of just two years. Therefore the only source of this cesium-134 in the Pacific today is from Fukushima.”

The amount of cesium-134 reported in these new offshore data is less than 2 Becquerels per cubic meter (the number of decay events per second per 260 gallons of water). This Fukushima-derived cesium is far below where one might expect any measurable risk to human health or marine life, according to international health agencies.  And it is more than 1000 times lower than acceptable limits in drinking water set by US EPA.

Scientists have used models to predict when and how much cesium-134 from Fukushima would appear off shore of Alaska and the coast of Canada. They forecast that detectable amounts will move south along the coast of North America and eventually back towards Hawaii, but models differ greatly on when and how much would be found.

“We don’t know exactly when the Fukushima isotopes will be detectable closer to shore because the mixing of offshore surface waters and coastal waters is hard to predict. Mixing is hindered by coastal currents and near-shore upwelling of colder deep water,” said Buesseler. “We stand to learn more from samples taken this winter when there is generally less upwelling, and exchange between coastal and offshore waters maybe enhanced.”

Because no U.S. federal agency is currently funding monitoring of ocean radioactivity in coastal waters, Buesseler launched a crowd-funded, citizen-science program to engage the public in gathering samples and to provide up-to-date scientific data on the levels of cesium isotopes along the west coast of North America and Hawaii. Since January 2014, when Buesseler launched the program, individuals and groups have collected more than 50 seawater samples and raised funds to have them analyzed. The results of samples collected from Alaska to San Diego and on the North Shore of Hawaii are posted on the website http://OurRadioactiveOcean.org. To date, all of the coastal samples tested in Buesseler’s lab have shown no sign of cesium-134 from Fukushima (all are less than their detection limit of 0.2 Becquerel per cubic meter).

The offshore radioactivity reported this week came from water samples collected and sent to Buesseler’s lab for analysis in August by a group of volunteers on the research vessel Point Sur sailing between Dutch Harbor, Alaska, and Eureka, California. These results confirm prior data described at a scientific meeting in Honolulu in Feb. 2014 by John Smith, a scientist at Fisheries and Oceans Canada in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, who found similar levels on earlier research cruises off shore of Canada. Buesseler and Smith are now working together on a new project, led by Jay Cullen at the University of Victoria, Canada, called InFORM (http://fukushimainform.wordpress.com/) that involves Canadian academic, government and NGO partners to determine and communicate the environmental risks posed by Fukushima for Canada’s Pacific and Arctic coasts and their inhabitants.

Buesseler believes the spread of radioactivity across the Pacific is an evolving situation that demands careful, consistent monitoring of the sort conducted from the Point Sur.

“Crowd-sourced funding continues to be an important way to engage the public and reveal what is going on near the coast. But ocean scientists need to do more work offshore to understand how ocean currents will be transporting cesium on shore.  The models predict cesium levels to increase over the next two to three years, but do a poor job describing how much more dilution will take place and where those waters will reach the shore line first,” said Buesseler. “So we need both citizen scientists to keep up the coastal monitoring network, but also research vessels and comprehensive studies offshore like this one, that are too expensive for the average citizen to support,” said Buesseler.

Buesseler will be presenting his results on Nov. 13, 2014, at the SETAC conference in Vancouver (http://meetings.setac.org/frontend.php/presentation/listForPublic ). He is also responding to questions from the public on the “Ask Me Anything” forum on Reddit at 1 p.m. EST on Nov. 10 (http://www.reddit.com/r/science).

Ken Buesseler is a senior scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) who specializes in the study of natural and man-made radionuclides in the ocean. His work includes studies of fallout from atmospheric nuclear weapons testing, assessments of Chernobyl impacts on the Black Sea, and examination of radionuclide contaminants in the Pacific resulting from the Fukushima nuclear power plants. Dr. Buesseler has served as Chair of the Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry Department at WHOI, as Executive Scientist of the U.S. Joint Global Ocean Fluxes Planning and Data Management Office, and two years as an Associate Program Director at the U.S. National Science Foundation, Chemical Oceanography Program. In 2009, he was elected Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and in 2011 he was noted as the top-cited ocean scientist by the Times Higher Education for the decade 2000-2010. He is currently Director of the Center for Marine and Environmental Radioactivity at WHOI. For more info, visit his lab, Café Thorium.

Funding for the citizen monitoring effort at ourradioactiveocean.org comes from close to 400 individuals and sponsoring organizations including Alaska Ocean Observing System, Alaska SeaGrant, Bamfield Marine Science Centre, Cook Inlet Keepers, David Suzuki Foundation, Deerbrook Charitable Trust, Dominical Real Estate, Fukushima Response Campaign, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, Parks Canada, Humboldt State University Marine Lab, Idaho Section of the American Nuclear Society, Integrated Fukushima Ocean Radionuclide Monitoring (InFORM) Network, International Medcom, KUSP Santa Cruz, Lush Cosmetics, Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation, Nuxalk Nation, Onset Computer, Pacific Blue Foundation, Peaceroots Alliance, PFx, a Picture Farm Company, Point Blue Conservation Science, Prince William Sound Science Center, Resurrection Bay Conservation Alliance, San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace, Santa Barbara Channel Keeper, Say Yes! to Life Swims LLC, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Southwest Alaska Inventory and Monitoring Program National Park Service, St. Mary’s School, The Guacamole Fund, The Institute for Building Biology and Ecology, Tillamook Estuaries Partnership, Ucluelet Aquarium, Umpqua Soil & Water Conservation District, University of California Davis Marine Pollution Studies Lab, University of Hawaii, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is a private, independent organization on Cape Cod, Mass., dedicated to marine research, engineering, and higher education. Established in 1930 on a recommendation from the National Academy of Sciences, its primary mission is to understand the ocean and its interaction with the Earth as a whole, and to communicate a basic understanding of the ocean’s role in the changing global environment. For more information, please visit www.whoi.edu

Originally published: November 10, 2014

Source:  http://www.whoi.edu/news-release/Fukushima-detection

November 10, 2014 Posted by | USA | , , | 3 Comments

Ever increasing costs for USA’s aging nuclear weapons system

missile-moneyAging nuclear arsenal grows ever more costly LA Times,  By RALPH VARTABEDIANW.J. HENNIGAN contact the reporters, 8 Nov 14 Pipes, tanks and other equipment rust in the humid Southern air. Leaky roofs leave puddles on factory floors. Abandoned buildings are scattered across an 800-acre site contaminated with hundreds of tons of mercury.

If this were a factory making cars in Detroit or steel in Pennsylvania, it would have long ago been shuttered.

But this is the Y-12 National Security Complex, a linchpin of the Energy Department’s nuclear weapons complex, responsible for making thermonuclear assemblies for hydrogen bombs.

The 1940s-era plant is part of a weapons program that has become increasingly costly to operate because of aging equipment, deteriorating facilities and soaring overhead costs. At its root, it is bloated and mismanaged, say former Energy Department officials, outside experts and members of Congress.

The nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile has shrunk by 85% since its Cold War peak half a century ago, but the Energy Department is spending nine times more on each weapon that remains. The nuclear arsenal will cost $8.3 billion this fiscal year, up 30% over the last decade.

The source of some of those costs: skyrocketing profits for contractors, increased security costs for vulnerable facilities and massive investments in projects that were later canceled or postponed……..

Now the Obama administration is moving forward with a plan to modernize the strategic weapons system over the next decade, an effort the Congressional Budget Office estimates will cost $355 billion. That comes as the Pentagon is under pressure to reduce its budget, and outside experts warn that the modernization could reach $1 trillion over the next 30 years……

The eight major nuclear weapon labs and production sites are run by a network of joint ventures and private companies, including the University of California, Bechtel Corp., Northrop Grumman Corp., Honeywell International Inc. and Lockheed Martin Corp.

 The increases came after a series of embarrassing security lapses at Los Alamos National Laboratory while it was managed by the University of California. The lapses led to a movement to pay more and demand far stricter security. http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-nukes-cost-20141109-story.html#page=1

November 10, 2014 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Renewed exposure of dirty tricks campaigns by fossil fuel industries

spin-corporate.Fossil fuel industry’s dirty tricks campaign exposed, Independent Australia,   DeSmog Blog 4 November 2014 A leaked tape from an oil and gas industry conference shows how Big Carbon uses dirty tricks to undermine science, vilify its critics and discredit journalists who criticise the use of fossil fuels, writesSharon Kelly via DeSmogBlog.

Leave it to Washington’s top attack-dog lobbyist Richard Berman to verify what many always suspected: that the oil and gas industry uses dirty tricks to undermine science, vilify  its critics and discredit journalists who cast doubt on the prudence of fossil fuels.

In a speech at an industry conference in June, surreptitiously recorded by an energy executive, Rick Berman ‒ the foremost go-to guy for Republican smear campaigns ‒ gave unusually candid advice to a meeting of drilling companies.

Think of this as an endless war,” he told executives in a speech, which was leaked to the New York Times by an attendee at the conference who was offended by Berman’s remarks. And you have to budget for it.”

He said the industry needs to dig up embarrassing tidbits about environmentalists and liberal celebrities, exploit the public’s short attention span for scientific debate, and play on people’s emotions: Continue reading

November 10, 2014 Posted by | spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment

AUDIO: Judge adds General Electric, EBASCO, Toshiba and Hitachi as defendants in nuclear radiation case

Hear-This-wayjusticeAUDIO: NUCLEAR HOTSEAT #176: USS REAGAN SAILORS’ LAWSUIT V. TEPCO CLEARS JUDICIAL HURDLE, EXPANDS! INTERVIEW:

Attorneys for the USS Reagan sailors hit by Fukushima radiation won big in court last week: Judge Janis Sammartino ruled that the $1 billion lawsuit against TEPCO for health damages and medical treatment CAN not only move forward, it adds as defendants General Electric, EBASCO, Toshiba and Hitachi – the companies that designed and built the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactors.  Nuclear Hotseat talks with attorneys Paul Garner and Charles Bonner………http://www.nuclearhotseat.com/2188/

November 8, 2014 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment

US tax-payer money going to nuclear lobby’s latest gee-whiz gimmick

text-my-money-2GE Hitachi Receives Federal Funds To Assess New Nuclear Technology, Wilmington Biz BY JENNY CALLISON, NOV 6, 2014 GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) will perform a comprehensive safety assessment of its PRISM sodium-cooled fast nuclear reactor, thanks to a multi-million-dollar federal investment from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the company announced Thursday.

 Nuclear-Wizards
GEH officials are not sure yet of the exact amount of federal funds allocated to the project, company spokesman Jon Allen said Thursday…….The technology on which PRISM is based was developed in the 1980s and, unlike other nuclear reactors, it can use spent nuclear fuel and surplus plutonium to generate electricity. Since the early 1990s, however, no risk assessments have been done on the technology……..
Plutonium has a half-life period of 300,000 years, Allen said, while use of that plutonium as fuel for the PRISM reactor cuts that half-life period to 300 years. A half-life period is the time required for half of the unstable, radioactive atoms in an element to undergo radioactive decay. http://www.wilmingtonbiz.com/technology/2014/11/06/ge_hitachi_receives_federal_funds_to_assess_new_nuclear_technology/12531

November 8, 2014 Posted by | politics, reprocessing, USA | Leave a comment

Renewable energy threatened as US Republicans take over in the Senate

exclamation-Flag-USARepublican wins in the US Senate bode ill for renewable energy, PV Magazine 05. NOVEMBER 2014 |  BY:  CHRISTIAN ROSELUNDRepublican control of both houses of the U.S. legislature is expected to lead to renewed attacks on clean energy policies and environmental law in general. However, this may not effect the course of key policies by U.S. President Barak Obama. In Tuesday’s election, the Republican Party gained at least seven seats in the U.S. Senate to bring it to a majority position. The party also increased its majority in the U.S. House of Representative, giving it control of both houses of the U.S. legislature.

While this new political landscape will have an impact on energy legislation, environmental groups have pointed out that it may not have as large an impact on clean energy policies, many of which are being pursued directly by the Obama Administration without congress.

A key area of concern for the solar industry has been the 30% solar investment tax credit (ITC), which is set to reduce at the end of 2016. The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) announced an effort to extend the ITC at the Solar Power International trade show in Las Vegas in October, and Friends of the Earth (FOE) says that this changing landscape complicates that task.

“Obviously formerly Majority Leader (Harry) Reed was very supportive of tax credits for renewable energy,” FOE Climate and Energy Program Director Benjamin Schreiber told pv magazine. “I don’t think this is a death knell for the ITC, but it makes it more difficult for sure.”

Schreiber notes that past extensions of renewable energy tax credits were part of bundled changes to the tax code, which makes it harder to read any individual politician’s support for specific policies. However, he also notes that many House Republicans have been vocal in their opposition to renewable energy subsidies………

Republicans have also targeted President Obama’s efforts to regulate greenhouse gases through the Environmental Protection Agency, but here the Obama Administration remains in control.

“Anything that Congress is going to do to undermine that rule from moving forward is going to have to be signed off on by the president,” explains Schreiber. He describes past efforts to derail the policy as “political theater”.

Additionally, a Republican majority in the Senate gives the party greater control over budget issues, and Schreiber expects them to use this to reduce funding for clean energy programs both at the Department of Energy and the Department of Defense.

Perhaps the greatest concern is that a Republican majority will further tilt the playing field against renewables by increasing support for fossil fuel production. …….

In particular, the expected incoming chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) has been a strong supporter of the coal and oil industries.: http://www.pv-magazine.com/news/details/beitrag/republican-wins-in-the-us-senate-bode-ill-for-renewable-energy_100017075/#ixzz3IWIJ5g7p

November 8, 2014 Posted by | renewable, USA | Leave a comment

USA MidWest can get 40% or more of its electricity from wind and solar energy

renewable-energy-picture40% Renewable Energy Integration No Trouble For Midwest Clean Technica November 7th, 2014 by   A new study conducted by the Minnesota Department of Commerce in coordination with the Midwest regional independent grid operator Mid-continent Independent System Operator (MISO) has found that the state of Minnesota could obtain 40% or more of its electricity from wind and solar energy without suffering any grid reliability issues.

The report, which builds on real-world situations like the states of Iowa and South Dakota generating more than 25% of their energy from wind during 2013, is another splash of cold water in the faces of those who attempt to dismiss renewable energy as being somehow impractical.

Minnesota currently derives 16% of its electricity from wind and solar energy, which means an increase to 40% would not only be a boost to the renewable energy industry, but would push the state towards 70% of its emissions reductions required from existing power plants under the EPA’s Clean Power Plan.

The primary finding from the report (PDF) is that “the addition of wind and solar (variable renewable) generation to supply 40 percent of Minnesota’s annual electric retail sales can be reliably accommodated by the electric power system.”

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) made the following statement in the wake of the report:…….  http://cleantechnica.com/2014/11/07/renewable-energy-integration-trouble-midwest/

November 8, 2014 Posted by | renewable, USA | Leave a comment

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